The lone suspect in a string of shootings in the French capital, including one at "Libération" newspaper in which a photographer’s assistant was seriously injured, has been charged with attempted murder and kidnapping, officials said Saturday.
Preliminary charges of attempted murder, kidnapping and sequestration have been filed against Abdelhakim Dekhar, the lone suspect in a series of shootings in the French capital this week, the Paris prosecutor said on Saturday.
Dekhar was arrested Wednesday after a massive manhunt that followed a Monday shooting at left-wing newspaper "Libération",in which a photographer’s assistant was seriously injured, as well as a second incident in which shots were fired outside the headquarters of the Société Générale bank.
Police allege the shooter was the same man who stormed into the offices of TV channel BFM on November 15, threatening staff before rushing out. According to officials, Dekhar’s DNA matches samples collected from the scenes of Monday’s attacks.
Following Dekhar’s indictment, his lawyer said in a statement that “the police investigation is now over and so are, I hope, the violations of his right to be presumed innocent, and statements by people who have nothing to do with the case commenting on my client’s motives”.
Dekhar was previously known to police for his role in supplying a weapon used in a “Bonnie-and-Clyde” style multiple murder in the 1990s.
He was found semi-conscious after an apparent suicide attempt in a vehicle in an underground parking lot in the northwestern Paris suburb of Bois-Colombes.
Investigators say that undated letters believed to belong to the accused attempted to explain his actions but were incoherent.
Paris prosecutor Frédéric Molins said the letters denounced capitalism and spoke of “a plot aimed at the return of fascism in the media, in banks, in the policy on suburbs”.
The shooter opened fire with a 12-gauge shotgun at the "Libération" offices, hitting a 23-year-old photographer’s assistant, then fired another blast that hit the roof before fleeing. He crossed the city to the La Défense business district, where he fired several shots outside the main office of the Société Générale bank but struck no one.
He hijacked a car and forced the driver to drop him off in the centre of Paris before disappearing.
Dekhar was convicted in 1998 of buying a gun used in the October 1994 shooting attack by student Florence Rey and her lover Audry Maupin, who moved in left-wing circles.
Three policemen, a taxi driver and Maupin himself were killed in a case that stunned France.
Rey, a middle-class student hitherto unknown to the police, was tried and sentenced to 20 years in jail. She was released in 2009.
Dekhar was acquitted of armed assault but found guilty of procuring the weapon and sentenced to four years. He was released soon afterwards, having already served his time in pre-trial detention.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP and AP)